A brand new type of window solar panel has been developed in Germany by Heliatek. This new invention involves a technology utilizing small, organic molecules deposited on films of polyester. The mechanism behind this new product is very similar to what is generally used for OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays for flat screen TVs and cell phones.
Some of the advantages that these panels are having include their flexibility, and lighter weight compared to conventional models of solar panels. These benefits, added to the fact that they can produce just as much electricity, could end up making them quite a popular choice.
Based in Dresden, Heliatek is funded by BASF, Bosch, and others. So far it has raised 28 million Euros and is targeting to collect a further 60 million Euros. Recently, it started manufacturing its solar panels on a proof-of-concept production line and targets to build a 75 mW factory using the funds raised.
These new solar panels have shown improved efficiency (converting 8 percent of the light energy from the sun into electricity, even in low light and high heat seasons), and sustainability in composition; all with the use of what is termed as tandem technology.
Thibaud de Segullion, the CEO of Heliatek says that the currently targeted power output is fairly small for a solar panel plant. This would make the panels cost more per watt compared to conventional solar panels.
He, however, further clarified that in 4 to 5 years, by which time the company should achieve large-scale productivity, the Heliatek panel’s cost could decrease to approximately forty to fifty cents per watt. This would make them compete favorably with the mainstream solar panels.
To boost its sales at the current high cost, Heliatek seeks to involve other manufacturers in the building industry so as to produce building materials like window panes that incorporate the specially designed solar cells. The key innovations behind such building materials would be the inbuilt organic, long oligomer solar cells that could be cheaply printed thus achieving a lowered production cost.